Mostly the Universe stays unchanged for hundreds, thousands or even millions of years. There are some cases however when some things change really rapidly. Recently I observed one of these rapidly changing, transient phenomena, as asteroid called 2012 DA14. I work for Las Cumbres Observatory and we have been trying to observe this asteroid since 5 February.
Preliminary estimates show that the meteoroid was 15 meters wide and weighed roughly 8000 tons. The resulting airburst would have the equivalent yield of about a 1/2 megaton explosion.
A large meteor streaked through the skies above Russia on the morning of Feb 15th, causing a deafening sonic boom that shattered windows and injured hundreds.
Continuing my writeup of notes from last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting: presentations on the risks of future asteroid impacts. How much risk do we face, and what are the appropriate actions to take in the face of that risk?